Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.


September 28, 1995

In the Matter of the Complaint of NAUTILUS MOTOR TANKER CO., LTD., as Owner of the M/T BT NAUTILUS for Exoneration from or Limitation of Liability.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: BASSLER


 Limitation Plaintiff, Nautilus Motortanker, Ltd. ("Nautilus") and Limitation Claimant, Coastal Oil New York, Inc. ("Coastal") cross-move for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. To resolve these motions, the Court must determine whether Nautilus is liable for purely economic losses incurred by Coastal as a result of the June 7, 1990 grounding of the BT Nautilus, a ship owned by Nautilus. This Court possesses jurisdiction over this admiralty action under 28 U.S.C. § 1333.

 For the reasons set forth in this Opinion, Nautilus' motion for summary judgment is denied and Coastal's cross-motion for summary judgment is granted.


 The dispute between the parties arises from an oil spill that occurred when the motortanker, BT Nautilus, owned by Limitation Plaintiff, Nautilus, ran aground on its way to a berth owned by Limitation Claimant, Coastal. The details of the grounding and the substantial spill of fuel oil into the Kill Van Kull Waterway have been set forth in detail in this Court's prior Opinion, reported at 862 F. Supp. 1260 (D.N.J. 1994), and need not be reiterated here. In that Opinion, issued after a bench trial, this Court held that Nautilus was 100% responsible for the grounding of the BT Nautilus and the resulting oil spill. The Court exonerated Coastal from any liability in connection with the accident. That judgment is currently on appeal to the Third Circuit.

 The parties' cross motions for summary judgment relate to Coastal's claim against Nautilus to recover purely economic losses caused by the spill. Shortly after the spill, the BT Nautilus arrived at Coastal's berth, where it remained until June 19, 1990, in order to complete temporary repairs. While Coastal concedes that it did not suffer any physical damage to its property as a result of the spill, Coastal has filed this claim to recover damages for interruption of its business and interference with its contractual relationships with third parties that resulted from the BT Nautilus' unexpected and lengthy stay in Coastal's berth.


 A. Impact of Pending Appeal

 In response to this Court's September 27, 1994 Opinion and Order finding Nautilus 100% responsible for the spill and resulting damage, Nautilus filed an appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(3). See Kingstate Oil v. M/V Greenstar, 815 F.2d 918, 921 (3d Cir. 1987), Cummings v. Redeeriaktieb Transatlantic, 242 F.2d 275, 276 (3d Cir. 1957). The purpose of § 1292 is to permit immediate appeal once a determination of liability has been made, in order to avoid the potentially unnecessary delay and expense required to make a finding as to the amount of damages if the liability determination is ultimately reversed. See id.

 Although a pending appeal ordinarily deprives a district court of jurisdiction, an exception to this rule applies where the issues involved on appeal are only peripherally related to the issue presented in district court. See e.g., Compania Espanola de Pet., S.A. v. Nereus Ship., 527 F.2d 966 (2d Cir. 1975). Both Nautilus and Coastal argue that this exception applies to Coastal's claim for damages.

 The parties' cross-motions for summary judgment relate to the type of damages that Coastal is entitled to recover from whatever party is ultimately found liable. Even if the Third Circuit were to reverse this Court's September 27, 1994 judgment against Nautilus, unless Coastal were found to be 100% responsible (in contrast to this Court's prior determination of 0% responsibility), the types of damages recoverable by Coastal would need to be identified. The amount of damages and the appropriate apportionment of them are not at issue on this motion.

 Since the type of damages recoverable by Coastal will almost certainly need to be resolved, there is no savings of time or expense to be gained from delaying decision on this issue. Both parties are in favor of an immediate resolution. Under these circumstances, the Court chooses to exercise its discretion to entertain the cross-motions for summary judgment at this time.

 B. Summary Judgment Standard

 Summary judgment is appropriate only if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Whether a fact is material is determined by the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). An issue involving a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Healy v. New York Life Ins. Co., 860 F.2d 1209, 1219 n.3 (3d Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 490 U.S. 1098, 104 L. Ed. 2d 1004, 109 S. Ct. 2449 (1989).

 The moving party has the initial burden of showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). Where the moving party satisfies this requirement, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to present evidence that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324. Once the moving party has carried its burden of establishing the absence of genuine issues of material fact, the nonmoving party "may not rest upon mere allegations or denials" of its pleading, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e), but must produce sufficient evidence to reasonably support a jury verdict in its favor, Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249, and not just "some metaphysical doubt as to material facts." Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986).

 In determining whether any genuine issues of material fact exist, the Court must resolve "all inferences, doubts, and issues of credibility ... against the moving party." Meyer v. Riegel Products Corp., 720 F.2d 303, 307 n.2 (3d Cir. 1983), cert. dism'd., 465 U.S. 1091, 104 S. Ct. 2144, 79 L. Ed. 2d 910 (1984) (citing Smith v. Pittsburgh Gage & Supply Co., 464 F.2d 870, 874 (3d Cir. 1972)).

 Since a motion for summary judgment is designed to go beyond the pleadings, factual specificity is required of a party who opposes such a motion. Celotex, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). Accordingly, in order to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment, a party may not merely restate the allegations of his complaint. Farmer v. Carlson, 685 F. Supp. 1335, 1339 (M.D.Pa. 1988). Moreover, a party cannot rely upon self-serving conclusions, unsupported by specific facts in the record. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23. A non-moving party must point to concrete evidence in the record which supports each essential element of his case. Id. If ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.